Monthly Archives: August 2008

Cindy McCain ‘Unsure’ How Many Half-sisters She Has

The Borowitz report, 8/22/08

Says Staff Member Will Handle Sibling Tally

Presumptive first lady nominee Cindy McCain responded to a reporter’s question today about how many half-sisters she had by saying that she was “unsure” about the exact number but would have “a staff member look into it.”

Ms. McCain’s claims of being an only child were clouded this week by revelations that she has at least two heretofore unmentioned half-sisters, leading to reporters’ queries as to whether more undisclosed half-siblings were waiting in the wings.

When a reporter from the Toledo Blade asked Mrs. McCain at a campaign stop in Ohio about how many half-sisters she had, she looked momentarily startled by the question before handing it off to a staff member.

Mrs. McCain’s uncertainty about the precise tally of her siblings, coming on the heels of her husband’s confusion about the number of the couples’ homes, might not be as big a problem for the McCain campaign as some might expect, says Davis Logsdon, professor of economics at the University of Minnesota.

“As long as the couple has more homes than half-sisters, they could easily house one of the half-sisters in each of the residences and keep them happy,” Dr. Logsdon says. “However, if the number of half-sisters grows faster than the number of homes, that could potentially lead to crowding.”

For his part, Sen. McCain said that the campaign would provide a “guesstimate” of how many half-sisters and homes the couple has by the end of next week: “Right now, we’re trying to put it all on a spreadsheet.”

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Filed under Satire, US President

FBI May Start Spying On Americans "Without Any Basis For Suspicion"

New Guidelines Would Give F.B.I. Broader Powers
NYTimes, 8/21/08
By ERIC LICHTBLAU

WASHINGTON — A Justice Department plan would loosen restrictions on the Federal Bureau of Investigation to allow agents to open a national security or criminal investigation against someone without any clear basis for suspicion, Democratic lawmakers briefed on the details said Wednesday.

The plan, which could be made public next month, has already generated intense interest and speculation. Little is known about its precise language, but civil liberties advocates say they fear it could give the government even broader license to open terrorism investigations.

Congressional staff members got a glimpse of some of the details in closed briefings this month, and four Democratic senators told Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey in a letter on Wednesday that they were troubled by what they heard. Continue reading

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Filed under Rights, Justice, Law

"SWING VOTE": WORTHWHILE FILM ON CRUCIAL ELECTION

In this crucial election year, what could be more worthwhile than a film on politics and the political process?  Such is the theme of the entertaining yet telling movie “Swing Vote” currently in theaters.  It could prove to be a great discussion starter and even motivator for those who may yet be uninvolved or still sitting out this election season.

There are plenty of stars in the film, from Kevin Costner to Willie Nelson, and the production is lavish without being pointless.  It attempts to be non-partisan, but the issue of “politics as usual” is right there up front.  The impoverished and depressed little guy allows himself to be manipulated and used once about by the big machine, at least until the very end.

From the name of the town out West to its barren and delapidated streets, it’s quite obvious what has happened to the “American heartland” and even the “American dream” in recent years.  The main character, however, has a slow awakening, and even his Nascar and country music idols come out to exhort and encourage him on.

The real hero is his young daughter who literally keeps calling to him “It’s time to wake up,” and by implication, “Wake up, America.”  Perhaps more pointedly than any recent general run movie, this one makes it crystal clear that the upcoming election is about the heart and soul of our nation and the commitment and responsibility of each and every citizen.

Though it may not win an Academy Award, “Swing Vote” is challenging and even inspiring.  At our theater people applauded at the end.  By the great concluding scene, one cannot help but feel that change is badly needed in our country and that there is a lot of work, and probably make-up work, to be done by us all.

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Filed under David Long, US President

Michael Moore Dares to Ask: What's So Heroic About Being Shot Down While Bombing Innocent Civilians?

AlterNet
By Liliana Segura, AlterNet
Posted on August 21, 2008

Confession: I have not yet read all six (short, illustrated, large type) chapters of Mike’s Election Guide 2008, Michael Moore’s, latest work of jaunty political opinion. Am I supposed to discuss it with him on “Meet the Bloggers” tomorrow? Yes. But I’m not worried. It’s a breezy read, has already made me laugh out loud, and besides, I may have already found the best part in Chapter One.

The title is “Ask Mike!” and, in it, ordinary voters, old and young, pose questions about politics and current events. Some are more serious than others (“If Iran has weapons of mass destruction, we should invade, right?”), which does not make Moore’s answers any more subtle. (“Excuuuuuse me? Did you say the words, ‘weapons of mass destruction?’ Take it back. I SAID TAKE IT BACK!”) Of course, the “questions” are really satirical jabs at the media — “When a Republican wears a little American flag lapel pin, what is he trying to say?” “If Obama can’t bowl, can he govern?” — but there’s one in particular that is worth paying attention to — especially if you happen to be a member of the press and have been utterly unwilling to take McCain’s supporters and opponents alike to task for perpetuating a narrative that would be central to a McCain victory, and which has already become a dominant theme in this election: The McCain as War Hero canard.

The “question” is posted thusly:

“Why did the Vietnamese shoot down John McCain and put him in prison for five years? He seems like such a nice guy.” Continue reading

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Filed under Peace, Security, Terrorism, War, US President